Hotty toddy! I’m Georgia and I’m studying abroad for a semester at Ole Miss, as it is affectionately referred to. Mississippi has been one of the best experiences of my life. Ole Miss has one of the most beautiful campuses in America and it is HUGE. I firmly believe that no campus could outdo Ole Miss but each to their own.
If you are on the edge about studying abroad, all I can say is do it! The south is like nothing I have ever known, I have also never seen so much fried chicken. I got to do a bit of travelling during weekends, visiting Nashville, New Orleans and Atlanta which were all beautiful and a bit hectic in the best way. I’d have to say that the people I met at Ole Miss are without a doubt the best part. I have made so many life-long friends that made this experience just that much better!
I recommend living on campus as transportation is a bit unreliable and being on campus is so much more convenient. The football season was mind-blowing, and I firmly suggest coming here in the fall. Football is no joke here (also they have no idea what ‘footy’ means which I found amusing). Remember to consider the exchange rate and costs that you easily forget about such as bathroom amenities and even cutlery and plates! If you do choose to study abroad, don’t stress the little things, they will work out.
Ole Miss is quirky and beautiful, and I would 100% recommend coming here. The experience is daunting, but it definitely paid off. Finally, be grateful for the staff at USC! I had a little fall while over here and sprained my ankle, USC were quick to respond and assist which I will be forever thankful for.
We have gathered a couple of hidden gems here on the coast, ranging from cafes to beautiful, hidden locations. Some of these places might be familiar to a Sunshine Coast local, but if you’re new to the Sunshine Coast you should definitely make some time on your schedule to visit these places!
Front page photo: Traveller photo submitted by Darren (Jun. 2017)
1. Kenilworth Bakery
Opening hours: Everyday From 6am Until SELL OUT.
Address: 8 Elizabeth St, Kenilworth QLD 4574
You might be disappointed in yourself that you haven’t heard about this before now, but for all doughnut fans: look no further. The famous bakery in Kenilworth offers a bakery experience of it’s own, with amazing doughnuts in every possible flavour you can imagine. Considering they are so popular and people often travel to Kenilworth just to get a taste of what the bakery has to offer, you’ll need to be there early in the morning to secure yourself one of these tasty doughnuts. Ranging from the apple crumble, golden gay-time, oreo and world’s first coffee in a doughnut, why not go all out and challenge yourself with the 1 kg doughnut challenge. Check them out on Instagram here!
2. Ewen Maddock Dam
Address: Mooloolah Connection Rd, Mooloolah Valley, QLD
Depending on where you live, you might not have heard of this place. Located in Mooloolah Valley, this dam is a place where you can have nice picnics while enjoying the silence. The Ewen Maddock Dam is perfect for a swim or kayaking, and it has the most amazing view over the huge watery expanse. It has seats, bbq’s and a sandy shore to enjoy. You can even walk through the forest path next to the water and enjoy the bird life. There are also some great mountain bike tracks nearby if you’re up fore some action. Bring your friends and check it out! Read more here.
3. The Strawberry Fields
Address:133 Laxton Rd, Palmview, QLD, 4553
Exit 190 off Bruce Highway
Pick your own strawberries! Strawberry Fields is a Pick Your Own Farm and the season is from May to October (not too far away!) where you get to go out on the field and pick your very own strawberries. They also have a shop, a Cafe, a playground and a gift shop. We already know this has been a popular thing to do amongst students, bu it normally takes a while before someone brings it to your attention, especially when you’re new to the coast. It’s located only 10 minutes away from the University (opposite to Aussie Worlds), so there’s no excuse not to go if you’re a strawberry lover! Check them out here.
4. THE BIRDS & THE BEANS ESPRESSO BAR
Opening hours: Monday-Saturday 6 – 11.30am
Address: The old Vandy’s Garage, 114 Burnett St, Buderim QLD
This gem is situated in an old service station from 1918 and is well-known amongst Buderim locals. They make some really awesome coffee with Kai Specialty roast, and not to mention, their delicious NYC Bagels with cream cheese. Another amazing thing about this gem is that they currently donate one dollar for every kilo of coffee they sell to rescue children in developing nations. You can find them on Facebook here.
5. GURU Life
Opening hours: Every day 6am-3pm
Address: 522A Petrie Creek Rd, Rosemount QLD 4560
GURU Life Restaurant & Garden will bring happiness and enlightenment to your day through a delicious menu, served up in a relaxed garden setting. This is the perfect place to enjoy a delicious lunch or a simple cup of coffee, roasted on site. The Soloman Chicken is a favourite on the lunch menu, and the relaxing vibes make this a destination a popular spot you definitely want to check out. You can check them out here!
Where to begin? USC and Down Under have changed my life. There is without a doubt nothing better than studying abroad. Since this wasn’t my first time coming to Australia and the Sunshine Coast region, settling in was easy and stress-free for me. It almost felt like coming home. Orientation week is a must if you can get here early enough to attend. This is where you get to make your first good contacts with other students and plenty of university organisations. So, don’t miss out.
So, here’s why you should come to USC for your studies abroad:
Ever wanted to go to the beach before you head to uni? Ever wanted to share your campus with the cutest kangaroos on earth? For me there’s absolutely nothing better than grabbing a cuppa (cup of coffee) and listening to the calming sounds of swaying palm trees while studying on campus. The USC staff, and everyone else on campus, are extremely helpful and always have a smile for you; you get this instant feeling of ‘home’.
One of the reasons why I chose USC is the great variety of courses they offer and their good reputation for preparing their students to really be successful in their future career paths. And having been here for a while I can now say it’s true; I learned so many valuable lessons for life.
I love going to the lectures and tutorials. Here at USC we all stick together and support each other wherever we can. Teaching staff is always there to help whether it is to further explain course content, or simply for a short chat.
Of course, uni is quite different from my studies in Munich as I have reports to write, presentations to hold and exams during the semester.
Campus life! Oh, how can I best describe you? There’s nothing quite like it. Soft music melancholically playing in the backdrop at the cafes. People chatting or vigorously working on assignments; in the distance the usual clacking and roasting sounds from the coffee machines and from time to time a voice with ‘order for Kristin’ echoes. Doesn’t Balu‘s motto of the bare necessities of ‘peace and quiet’ fit perfectly? I got to meet people as crazy as me and people completely unlike me, and I became friends with all of them. I believe this is one of the perks of uni and of being abroad; you get to build this great multicultural network; the best of the very best. We suffered together when we, again started way to late on our assignments. We partied together when we finally, after long nights in front of your laptop, handed them in and we travelled together – of course, the actual reason why you study abroad.
Don’t just come here for your semester and bring some time to travel. Make sure to hop on a plane to Sydney or Melbourne. Or stay at Sunshine Coast and cruise around the hinterland. There’s plenty to see and explore for instance Noosa, the Sunshine Coasts’ golden child, is a must see! Before or after the lectures and on weekends I get to enjoy life to the fullest. Barbeques and rounds of beach volleyball at the beach, hopping from one Food & Wine Festival to the next, and exploring Fraser Island with our 4WD, the largest sand island in the world .
Despite loads of work and a healthy portion of stress, I get the feeling of being on permanent holidays. And of course, this is also thanks to the many rays of sunshine. Not for nothing else is the region called Sunshine ‘Sunny’ Coast. So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and start your very own study abroad adventure!
I love the Sunshine Coast, it is just an amazing place to live and I am so happy I chose this school. The school is nice and is located around beautiful nature where you can find kangaroos jumping around which is just amazing to see every time. I enjoy my accommodation, it is just 5 minutes walk to school which is great if you’re running a bit late to class. I have my own bedroom and bathroom which I love so I can have my stuff where I want and clean myself.
With the course Learning in Australian Landscapes, we go on four field trips during the semester which is just amazing. First trip was paddling at Noosa, it was so beautiful and a fun day trip. Next up was abseiling and climbing at Mount Ngungun which I was a bit nervous about, mainly because I had never climbed before and I am scared of heights. However, I was proud of myself that I did it. The third trip was an overnight trip to Cooloola National Park. The fourth and last trip was to Fraser Island which is about two hours from here. When we came to the island my group started biking on the sand and it was great and so much fun biking on the beach looking at the waves. After that, we changed groups and we got to pick up trash on the beach!
The next day we went to the rainforest on the island and walked for a bit which was so beautiful! We also learned more about the vegetation on the island. Later on, we went to Lake McKenzie which had the clearest water I’ve seen, it was so beautiful. On the third day we did some stops and then went back home to the coast. I was so tired the days after the trip but it was so worth it!
I have also been to Brisbane and the Gold Coast which are both great places to visit for a more ‘big city’ feeling. Before I go home, I have planned to go to Cairns, Whitsundays, and Sydney. During my time here, I have seen so much already and I have some trips still coming after school. I really think it is worth coming here to study if you’re considering it, as it is just amazing and there’s so much to do and see. I really recommend studying at USC and experience the Sunshine Coast.
Forecast announced a sunny weekend, as usual for more than 300 days a year on the sunshine coast. We decide, after 3 weeks in Australia, to organize our first “true” adventure. A few researches quickly led us toward the Great Sandy National Park, 150km North of our position.
This 200 000 km2, including the famous Fraser Island and Rainbow beach, seems to have the features that appeals to us: adventure and discovery.
Order of operations is as follow: departure at dawn on Sunday, followed by a visit of Rainbow Beach (1) before exploring the northern part of the park for the rest of the day. We would return on Monday morning, after a night at Teewah Beach (3).
I) Rainbow Beach.
After two hours on the road, we finally arrived at our first checkpoint: Rainbow Beach. Named this way due to its coloured sand dunes, holding various minerals, the city has only been accessible by road since 1969, allowing the tourism market to develop.
After a small stop at the main beach, we head out South-West towards Carlo Sandblow. From there, we went on a small hike in the rainforest. The forest came to an end. Before us, a breathtaking view. Hidden in the centre of the forest was an enormous sand expanse, stretching across hundreds of meters, reaching to the sea.
From this point of view, we see our next destination: the lighthouse on the northern peninsula of the park.
Back at Rainbow Beach and after a quick fill up of the gas tank, we drive to Freshwater Road, our entrance point in the Park.
II) Access to the beach and the lighthouse.
We enter Freshwater Road, an asphalt road relatively wide to our surprise. However, after only a few hundreds of meters, we end up on a three meters wide gravel road, still two-way.
We make halt, deflate the tires and go into 4WD mode. Relatively easy at first, the road was changing in front of our eyes to a path across the rainforest. The nature taking back what was hers as we advanced, we discover with apprehension and excitation an Australian speciality: off-road driving.
Turns become hairpins, slopes become steeper and steeper and the track, first made of dirt and rocks, turns into loose sand. Over weighed by our gear, Jerry (our Nissan X-Trail) does not yield and takes on every obstacle with success.
After roughly 10 km and half an hour in this jungle, we finally arrive at the Day Recreation Area, where we stop to deflate the tires even more.
At a few dozens of meters lied the much-wanted beach. Getting back on board, we head up towards the beach.
What a feeling. Stretching as far as the eye can see, the sandy expanse offered a breathtaking view, without anything to spoil this instant. To our left, the sand dune. To our right, the turquoise water of the Pacific Ocean. The hard sand was holding the car’s weight, providing an unmatched feeling of softness (it feels like we are in a softener ad).
A few kilometres brought us to the northern end of the beach, at the foot of the lighthouse. The incoming tide leads us to park as far as possible of the ocean, in a soft sand. After nearly getting stuck in the sand, we notice immediately that our Nissan X-Trail is the smallest vehicle on the beach, pale in comparison of the Jeep and Land Rovers.
After a quick lunch, we put on our backpacks on and follow the track leading to the lighthouse. The open view offered us the best sight of the day when whales appeared, blowing and jumping out of the water for several minutes.
Coming back down on the beach, we encountered a turtle which was diving under the incessant waves to feed.
Leaving this idyllic place, when now head out south, along the never-ending beach. After roughly fifteen kilometres, we catch sight of the entrance of Teewah Beach, where you can camp for the night. More than ten kilometres in length, the area shall be our anchor point for the night. After exploring the beach in all its length, we decide to stop under the trees lining the beach.
We are alone. The sound of the waves and wind for only company, we admire the sunset feet in water.
The night falling quickly, we prepare Jerry for the night. The bed is already set, we only need to install makeshift curtains to the windows and a mosquito net to the sunroof.
Then came the time to prepare dinner. The gas cooker boils a pot of water for our three-stars meal. Nothing innovative: a bag of pasta and a pot of bolognese sauce do the job.
The day was long, Auriane went to bed, but it is out of the question for me to sleep. The Great sandy National Park enjoys near-total darkness, with very few light pollution, allowing me to capture the totality of the night sky. My schedule for the night is tightly packed: five different targets will demand a constant work from 6pm to 3am, leaving me about two and a half hours of sleep.
The gear up and running, I start to image nights capes in the hope to pay homage to the beauty of the place.
Thus, I decide to target a part of the Milky Way, which is invisible from the northern hemisphere, rising above the forest. Later, I would target for a few dozen minutes the Eta Carinae Nebula Complex along with the Southern Cross constellation.
11pm. The moonless night should be inscrutable to the eye. In reality I can see pretty well. The Milky Way along with bio luminescent algae in the ocean gives of enough light for the human eye to see, allowing for movements without headlamp.
It is in this kind of environment that visual observation makes perfect sense. Once my eyes accustomed, I can resolve the gas clouds in our galactic core, various star clusters and even some nebulae.
Then came the moment I was waiting for. The most important target of the night was here: a conjunction between Jupiter and the Scorpius constellation. The camera is configured to automatically take sixty exposures, totalling roughly one hour of data integration. I take advantage of this time to sleep for a while.
I go on the other targets with the same scheme, in the company of the crabs that live on the beach, before finally going to sleep at 3am.
5:30am. The alarm clock goes off. We get up with difficulty in order to witness the sunrise. The scene is breathtaking. The few clouds on the ocean multiply the beauty of the dawn. We are still alone, and the view induce our minds into thinking we are alone on a desert island.
7am. After the breakfast, we tidy up our gear and prepare for the return to Sunshine Coast.
This time, Auriane drives on the forest track. Once on the rainbow beach road, I nickname her Sébastien Loeb (in reference of the nine-time French rally world champion) for her driving style and quality as well as her precision in difficult parts of the track.
Once the tank filled all the way up and the tires inflated, we leave the park, happy to have lived such an adventure.
There are so many festivals in Australia that you should check out, with everything from genres such as electro, rock, dubstep, pop and indie music! We have put together a list of 15 festivals in Australia that we believe you should check out whilst studying!
Sunshine Coast’s Big Pineapple Music Festival is held every year in Mayand is the biggest festival on the Coast. With well-know local and Australian artists such as Peking duk, Broods and PNAU headlining in 2019, The festival has steadily grown in profile and popularity, and is regularly sold out. With a growing list of annual events, The Big Pineapple Music Festival is now an event of national standing, having been awarded one of Australia’s top regional music festivals!
2. Woodford Folk Festival – Woodfordia, QLD
Held every New Years Eve, Woodford Folk Festival is an annual music and cultural festival held near the semi-rural town of Woodford, 72 km north of Brisbane. It is one of the biggest annual cultural events of its type in Australia where approximately 125,000 people attend the festival every year. With approximately 2000 performers and 438 events, this festival is featuring local, national and international guests.
3. Festival X – Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne
Fairly new on the market, Festival X which kicks off on November 29th in Brisbane, will feature some huge headliners such as Calvin Harris, Armin Van Buuren and Lil Pump, the perfect mix for those who want to experience some top American artists. Australian artists such as Alison Wonderland, Anna Lunoe and Godlands will also be there to give you the real Aussie experience, so you really just have to book a ticket and see for yourself – you probably won’t be disappointed!
4. Splendour in the Grass – Byron Bay Parklands, NSW
Splendy, what should we say? This is definitely the festival for all ages and people, and there is so much to do that we could have spent a whole day writing about it. Held in the North Byron Parklands every July, the 2019 version featured some of the greatest artist on this planet. Experience some of the best Australian and American artists, visit the Tipi Forest, Global Village, The Bohemian Lounge, The World Stage, and much much more! The opportunities are endless and there’s no question about why this festival attracts people from all over Australia and even internationally. You just have to experience it for yourself, it’s something unique!
5. Falls Festival – Byron Bay Parklands & Tasmania
Starting it off with Splendour in July, there is not time for withdrawals having Falls Festival right around the corner. Similar to Splendour (except from being held in the middle of the summer and you’ll probably be sweaty all the time), Falls this year will feature Halsey, Vampire Weekends, and Peking Duk (even Lewis Capaldi!) so this might be something you don’t want to miss out on. What better way to celebrate the New Year right?
6. Listen Out – Brisbane Showgrounds, Queensland
Listen Out, this is one of our favourites! Held every September/October (yes, it’s right around the corner!), this festival will bring you dance, electro and hip hop with artist such as 6lack, Biscits, Cosmo’s Midnight, Denzel Curry and Diplo. Being a popular festival for Sunny Coast people, in addition to The Big Pineapple Festival, this festival will give you more of a city-vibe. With two stages, you can easily move from one to the other if both of your favourite acts are on! Accommodation is normally easy to find being that it’s located in the heart of Brisbane, but be quick – it’s always sold out!
7. Grass is Greener – Gold Coast, QLD
We’ve lost count in terms of how many new festivals there are this year, but we are not complaining! Event though Grass is Greener has been around since 2016, it has recently picked up here in Queensland and will be kicking off on the 19th of October in Gold Coast. Tyga will be headlining along with Amy Shark, Hermitude and The Veronicas. If you already know you won’t be able to make it to Gold Coast, they are giving you a second opportunity to experience the festival in Cairns on the 26th. To us, it is not too expensive and definitely sounds like the grass must be greener at that festival, considering their line-up.
8. Wildlands Festival – Brisbane Showgrounds, QLD
Wildlands is a brand new, unique one-day dance festival. Happening at the end of December, Wildlands is the brain child of two of Australia’s most loved festivals. Beyond The Valley and Origin Fields founders have promised the biggest and most exciting dance, electronic and hip-hop acts, both national and international. This year’s lineup will feature sets from RÜFÜS DU SOL, Tyler, the Creator, Skepta, Ella Mai and Green Velvet (info). With tickets around 170$, we believe this might be a good hit for those who don’t want to spend heaps of money on a three-day festival, but would still like to experience the best of the best right before New Years!
9. ULTRA Australia – Sydney & Melbourne
ULTRA came to Australia for the first time in 2018 featuring some big artists such as Martin Garrix, The Chainsmokers and Marshmello. ULTRA originally being from America, the festival has now made itself popular on the Australian market. With March 7th & 8th on the schedule for next year, we recommend making it a long-weekend trip to Sydney or Melbourne to get the whole package!
10. Field Day – Sydney (New Years Day), NSW
Who experienced FOMO last year when missing out on Cardi B and Fisher performing? In saying that, this year might also live up to you expectations as we have Green Velvet, Dom Dolla, RL Grime, Skepta and many more performing – this is definitely scoring high on our top list of music festivals 2019! Celebrate the first day of 2020 with your friends in Sydney and experience the best of our Australian (and some American) performers.
11. Beyond The Valley – Lardner Parklands, VIC
Since it’s inception in 2014, the boutique music festival Beyond The Valley has grown into an annual party-goers haven. Running annually over the New Year’s Eve period, BTV’s carefully crafted selection of local and international artists perform across three distinctly designed, purpose-built stages. Each year, thousands of festival-goers from all over the globe travel to the lush Parklands of Lardner to experience Beyond The Valley (info). This year, (it’s unfortunately sold out), artists such as RÜFÜS DU SOL, Tyler, the Creator, 16BL and Bag Raiders will headline along with many more. Start planning for 2020 and be quick, the tickets can sometimes be hard to get a hold on!
12. Groovin The Moo – Oakbank, Bunbury, Bendigo, Canberra, Maitland, and Townsville
Ever since it’s kick-off in 2005, this festival has provided a groovy atmosphere! Held every year in May, the festival featured some big artists this year with Billie Eilish, Aurora and ASAP Twelvyy. There are heaps of locations to choose from, enabling you to literally plan your road trip everywhere! All of the shows sell out every year, so be quick if you want a hold of some tix next year!
13. Origin Fields – Perth, WA
Heads up, Perth seems to be your new NYE plan! Ring in 2020 with Tyler The Creator, Skepta, RL Grime, UK singer Ella Mai and another Aussie favourite, Golden Features. This not-to-miss-out-on festival is held from December 31st to January 1st and believe us, after reading this, you’re probably about to realise that there’s a lot of festivals around NYE. It’s definitely not a bad thing, but you now have a difficult decision to make!
14. SandTunes Music Festival – Gold Coast, QLD
Another new two-day festival which has definitely not been saving any money on artists, featuring LOGIC, Travis Scott and Dean Lewis. They have been met with some criticism being a bit expensive (would explain the lineup), and changing the venue just recently, but we believe with their new 1-day ticket, it’s definitely worth a go! However, if you’re the type of person who hates how 1-day festivals go too quick, this might be the reason to get a hold on that 2-day pass! Save some money and get amongst it, November 30th is right around the corner!
15. Laneway Festival – Brisbane, Sydney, Auckland, Adelaide & Fremantle
Last but not least, the Laneway festival in Brisbane which featured Cosmo’s Midnight, Crooked Colours, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie and many more this year. It’s been around 15 years since it first kicked off, and it’s absolutely one of the favourites around Australia. Starting predominantly off as an indie music event, the festival grew in popularity and has expanded to five Australian cities, including Auckland, New Zealand and Singapore. Billie Eilish delivered a mind blowing concert this year, so there’s no reason to believe it won’t be any less next year.
On the Sunshine Coast we have the Maroochydore Airport (MCY)that offers cheap flights around Australia, enabling you to visit places that’s on your bucket list in your study break. Airlines such as Qantas, Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand often offers cheap tickets for you as a student wanting to explore and travel. Here are some of our favourite destinations!
From the Maroochydore (Sunshine Coast) airport, flights are regularly flying to Melbourne with a price ranging from 279-350$ return trip.
Melbourne is known for its cultural diversity, over 40 laneways and arcades, amazing art (Hosier Lane – Melbourne’s most celebrated street-art laneway), and dining options for all budgets. Furthermore, World-class gardens such as the Royal Botanic Gardens have ample lawns and lovingly kept themed sections. In addition, it’s known for being THE coffee capital of the world, and you should not miss out on the opportunity to visit the Queen Victoria Market which sprawls between open-sided sheds and historic halls packed with food.
2. Auckland, NZ
Air New Zealand provides seasonal direct flights between Auckland <> Sunshine Coast. The 2019 season commenced on Friday 5 July 2019, with the last service on Sunday 27th October 2019. Ticket prices range from 700-850$ direct with Air New Zealand or alternatively with 1 stop in Sydney via Jetstar from 450-600$.
Auckland – also known as the isthmus city (a narrow strip of land that connects two larger landmasses and separates two bodies of water). Auckland is built on an isthmus between the Waitemata harbour and the Manakau harbour. The Waitemata harbour is an inlet of the Pacific Ocean whereas the Manakau is an initial of the Tasman sea. Essentially, the city actually spans across the land between two different seas. Auckland is also known for being the city of sails, mostly due to the large number of yachts.
Sydney, the number 1 destination for our students wanting to spend some time in the big city during study breaks! From MCY, you can get tickets as cheap as 120$ return (!), normally ranging from 150-200$.
Sydney, which is not the capital of Australia (it’s Canberra), offers some spectacular attractions and places to explore. You can walk across the impressive Sydney Harbour Bridge from the stairs near the pedestrian crossing on Cumberland St in The Rocks. You can also meet all kinds of animals in Sydney’s zoos, aquariums and wildlife parks. Furthermore, you can also take a ferry almost everywhere across the Sydney Harbour, for example to Manly Beach.
If whale watching is something that interests you as well, it’s free to watch from vantage points along sandstone coastline. Humpback and other whales migrate close to the Sydney shoreline between May and November. In addition, bush walking is popular in the magnificent national parks. (info: http://www.sydney.com)
4. Wellington, NZ
In order to get to Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, you can fly from MCY with Jetstar or Air New Zealand (via Sydney) with prices ranging from 600-700$, not bad!
In addition, make sure to visit the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary which was established in 1981 as a sanctuary for injured and orphaned wildlife and is Tasmania’s most popular wildlife park. Lastly, the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens being Australia’s second-oldest Botanical Garden established in 1818 should also be on your bucket-list.
My name is Michaela, and I studied abroad this semester at the University of the Sunshine Coast. I am originally from the East Coast of the United States, and had never left the continent before coming here. I was nervous, excited, and totally in awe at this opportunity. Reflecting back, having the chance to explore has been the most amazing aspect of this experience.
Hiking through the Sunshine Coast introduced me to familiar yet foreign plants and animals. I was also able to travel down the coast, visiting Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Byron Bay. Brisbane and the Gold Coast were a lot of fun, but have more city vibes than I am usually after. Byron Bay was more my style as it is a funky little town right by the ocean. While I was there I went skydiving for the first time, and it took my breath away—literally. I fell so in love with the thrill that I went again just a week later when my mom came to visit! After my second time I’m certain that I want to get certified to go on my own and maybe even become an instructor someday.
Toward the end of the semester I had more time to go on some longer trips. I spent a long weekend in Sydney and stayed with some family friends at Bondi Beach. Bondi is beautiful and has a more relaxed feel from the city itself. I was lucky enough to visit during Vivid, the annual light show, which puts on different displays and programs throughout the city. Sydney felt much bigger and busier than Brisbane, but also held a lot of history. From the Opera House to the Maritime Museum I got a sense that the city had a big influence on the formation of Australia as we know it today.
The biggest adventure of all was when I recently went to Bali. This felt significant for me because I haven’t done much traveling, and would no longer be in an English speaking country. I was a bit concerned about how I would navigate an even more foreign place than the one I had already been living in, but it ended up being no problem at all. At first the exchange rate and the high price tags were hard to wrap my mind around, but with technology it’s easy to figure out how much everything will cost. I ride a motor scooter back home, and realised that this was a big thing in Bali as well. They drive somewhat on the left side of the road, however the traffic laws are very lenient. It’s pretty much every vehicle for themselves, and if a scooter can get in between car, down a small ally, or around traffic by driving on the right side, then that’s what will happen. I fell in love with the erratic but functional nature of this place. We tried to eat in lots of local family owned restaurants and everything I tried was delicious.
I would definitely recommend travelling and going as far out of your comfort zone as possible while you’re here. These felt like once in a lifetime opportunities and have encouraged me to prioritise more travelling in my future!
Hi! My name is Jenna Dean and I am studying abroad here at USC through Rider University, New Jersey. I am studying to become an Elementary School teacher! Since I’m only here for one semester, I have hit the ground running trying to see everything Australia has to offer. My favourite place to explore around the Sunshine Coast is the Australia Zoo! I love being able to pet and feed the kangaroos up close. I also signed up to hold a koala and it was the best experience of my life! I’m also hoping that I will run into the Irwin’s during one of my visits.
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I’ve also seen the sights in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. While in Sydney, I loved being able to see the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. Although it was very touristy, it was super worth it! For study break, I went to Melbourne. So far, it was my favourite trip. The best part was seeing Hosier Lane which has amazing street art that is constantly changing. Melbourne was the perfect city to walk around in and experience the culture of Australia. By the end of my stay at USC, I also hope to visit New Zealand and possibly the Great Barrier Reef!
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Being at USC and in the Sippy Downs area has been amazing because it has so much to offer. The bus system is amazing compared to back home, so I love hopping on the bus and go on a trip. One of my favourite places to go is the Sunshine Plaza. It’s a great place to grab lunch, shop around and even pick up groceries. Another great thing is how close we are to the beach! Mooloolaba beach is right around the corner, but my favourite is hiking around at Noosa and then relaxing at the beach. I’m hoping to learn how to surf by the end of my trip!! The area is so beautiful, and I love to just hop on the bus and explore new places around me, such as the town of Buderim or taking a hike around Kondalilla falls and then hanging out in the waterfall! The highlight of my stay so far has been skydiving! Thanks to Adventure Dudes and Skydive Noosa I had the free fall of a lifetime! Skydiving was something I never thought I would do before, but it was truly amazing, plus I got to land on a dog beach!
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So far, study abroad has really taught me how to appreciate other cultures and to be open to change. I’ve met so many people from a range of countries and getting to hear their stories is eye opening and exciting. I cannot wait to take everything I’ve learned and share it with my friends and family back home. To anyone who wants to study abroad in Australia or anywhere, I say, TAKE THE LEAP! It is totally worth it and will give you the adventure of a lifetime! Study abroad is what YOU make of it and is your chance to explore our beautiful world!
In the course of my Master studies in business at Heilbronn University Graduate School, I had the unique opportunity to take part in the double degree Master program in International Business at USC. In order to receive the double degree I had to complete four courses at the University of the Sunshine Coast which I selected in cooperation with the international coordinators of both universities prior to my arrival in Australia. The USC offered a great variety of courses to choose from.
Shortly after my arrival in Australia, I had the chance to attend the orientation week organised by the university and familiarise myself with the facilities of the USC campus in Sippy Downs and the surrounding area through guided campus tours and a free hop-on-hop-off bus. Socialising activities such as a free Australian BBQ at the uni have also been part of the interesting orientation.
The highly modern USC campus is characterized by its kangaroos visiting the campus in the early mornings and in the evenings and attract the attention of the excited students every day anew. Many fancy cafès and small food stalls (e.g. sushi) extend the already great offer of the USC brasserie. The university is home to many sport clubs and the student association. I recommend to join the activities offered by them such as trips to the zoo or a festival and the famous netflix and pizza nights.
The USC is located at the beautiful Sunshine Coast. By catching a bus from USC station I could easily get to the beach and enjoy the sunny days. The location is also ideal for trips to Noosa’s national park and the wild koala’s and to Brisbane which can be reached within one hour. I would also recommend a trip to the tourism spots Fraser Island and Byron Bay.
To put in a nutshell, I can highly recommend the double degree program since the interactive courses give you a different insight into the field of business than the university in Germany. Additionally, the location of the university is perfect with regard to language improvement and trips around this beautiful country.
Kai Meier from the HMKW University of Applied Science in Berlin
My amazing semester abroad at USC
And there it was, I was finally leaving Germany and once again I was on my way to Australia. After I finished my last day at university in Berlin on a Friday, I jumped onto the next plane and arrived perfectly on time for Orientation Week. It was super easy to meet new people, a lot of them were Germans of course. Quickly I had a bunch of people surrounding me and I found my new room in a shared house with 11 internationals and Aussie people. The time went fast. On weekends, we were mostly hanging out at the Varsity Students Accommodation having a beer or two in the Helm or at Ocean St in Maroochydore or just chilling at the beach in Mooloolaba. To meet more people, I decided to go on two weekend trips. One tour went to Moreton Island, which is about a 1,5 hrs away and another tour to Spot X a Surf Camp, which is a few hours’ drive down south. Both were unique experiences which I can really recommend. The semester passed by quickly and soon I had semester break which I used to visit some friends in Bali. Others travelled along the East Coast or to Melbourne. The last weeks of my 13 weeks of studying were quite intense. Since I did not have any final exams in any of my four subjects, I had to spend a few nights in the library trying to get all the reports and assignments done as good as possible. Luckily, I was not the only one, so we had some fun times and good memories in the end.
Way to fast the time had come to say goodbye again to all the people I met. One good thing about having so many Europeans here is, that the chance is higher to see them again. Even when my time at the Sunshine Coast was over in June, I still had ten weeks of travelling and fun ahead. First, four friends from USC and I went down to Byron Bay and Surfers Paradise for a week. Afterwards I made my way up to Cairns stopping at Fraser Island, Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays, Townsville and Magnetic Island. I also did a Skydive at Mission Beach and walked through the world’s oldest rain forest at Cape Tribulation (Daintree Rainforest) before I flew to Bali again. From where I took one more month to go around Bali and Jawar ending my journey in Jakarta.
Now, being back in Berlin, I am looking forward to new adventures waiting for me. But I will never forget all the new impression, the things I learned, the people I met. This truly is learning for life!
To be honest, seeing that USC had kangaroos on its campus was one of the main drivers for choosing the Uni. Another reason was that the Uni is called ‘University of the Sunshine Coast’, who wouldn’t want to live at a place called Sunshine Coast? Being able to do a Double Degree at a University, which is close to a number great places to travel, made the decision easy.
The Sunshine Coast:
The Sunshine Coast is close to well-known places like ‘Fraser Island’, ‘The Great Barrier Reef’, and Brisbane. But that’s not all there is to see, you can go sun bathing or surfing at one of more than twenty beaches at the coast, hiking in many different national parks, climbing the ‘Glass House Mountains’, or visit the famous Australia Zoo that was opened by the Irwin family (you might know them from Steve Irwin, the crocodile hunter). Or you spend a morning at the artisan ‘Eumundi Market’, or go up for a swim in Noosa’s Fairy Pools. There is so much to see and do around the University, that it is very unlikely to ever get bored, whether you are an adrenalin junkie or just want to relax.
Right at the beginning, I joined the ‘USC Activates’ who organise trips around the Sunshine Coast for the cost of what you would spend going by yourself, you practically get the guide for free. With the club, I saw some amazing waterfalls and had some fun evenings at the beach and movie nights. But more important, I made some really good friends (locals and internationals) at the USC Activates, and we organised some private trips with a bunch of people too.
Was it a good decision to study at USC?
Definitely!! Apart from all the travelling, I have learned more than in Germany. The way they teach you is like being back at school, but it is so much more efficient (at last for me), and given the fact that in some courses you can pass even before the final exam gives you more time to relax at the pool during study week.
After studying for two years at my hometown university in Stralsund, Germany, I decided to finish my last year of uni at USC which I consider to be one of the best decisions I’ve made so far.
I arrived on the Sunshine Coast in the middle of the Australian winter which is comparable to our German summer. The beaches, friendly locals and laid back lifestyle made me fall in love with this place immediately.
The university is beautifully located and has great learning facilities to offer students the best possible education. During my studies, I got to experience the 3D virtual reality facilities which are unique worldwide for university students to use. Furthermore, I got to go on a field trip to Fraser Island to deepen my knowledge about sustainable tourism.
I always felt supported by my lecturers and tutors to succeed in my courses as well as in my professional career after university. Vikki Schaffer, my course coordinator for Leisure, Tourism and Event Management, helped me get in touch with a marketing firm in Munich where I’ll start an internship this year.
Besides the great learning experience and support, I also got to travel Australia during my semester break passing Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, the Great Ocean Road and Tasmania. It was the most amazing road trip and I would encourage everyone to travel this beautiful country if you get the chance.
I can safely say that studying abroad at the University of the Sunshine Coast exceeded all my expectations. Out of all the places I’ve visited in Australia, I consider the Sunshine Coast the most beautiful region to live and study at. The time I’ve spent here passed too quickly and looking back I would’ve loved to do my whole degree at USC. However, I consider this is a ‘see you later’ and not a goodbye as my plan is to come back and hopefully make the Sunshine Coast my new home.
For my third Master semester I decided to say “Goodbye” to cold Germany and escape to sunny Australia. I was even happier with my decision when I found out about the USC´s Double Degree Program. By only completing one semester in Australia I would be able to get a full Masters degree in addition to my German degree. Sounds too good to be true but as the Australians tend to say “No worries”.
After completing my semester, I am very happy with my decision to study at the USC. The modern campus with huge outside areas to hang out, a big library and great spots to grab a coffee or a quick bite to eat create a relaxed environment, in which a day of studying feels more like a vacation. As far as the workload goes, it is challenging but manageable. Even though some weeks were busier than others, there was always enough time to enjoy the beautiful Sunshine Coast. Furthermore, a vast number of university clubs offers all students the chance to engage in University matters or simply get to know fellow students.
I for one decided to rather spend my spare time on traveling around the amazing east coast, going to the beach and for a surf from time to time. The Sunshine Coast is regarded as one of the most beautiful spots in Austalia by tourists as well as locals. Friendly people, great Barbecue spots and beautiful beaches can be found everywhere on the coast.
I would advise everyone who comes to the Sunshine Coast to travel as much as they can. There´s so much to see. No matter if you go down south to the touristy Gold Coast, relaxed Byron Bay or even as far as Sydney or up north to Noosa, Fraser Island or Cairns, there are beautiful places all along the coast.
For me the Double Degree Program was the perfect combination of studying and being able to see a new part of the world. I had an amazing time and would recommend this experience to everyone.
I am a Business student from the University of Applied Sciences Regensburg and as part of my study program I had to go abroad for two semesters. There were so many different options to choose from, but I decided to leave Europe and travel to the other side of the world. And I have to say, that doing a Bachelor of Business at the USC, was one of the best decisions I have ever made!
When I came here, I was impressed by the new facilities, friendly lecturers and tutors as well as the wonderful nature surrounding the university. In general you can say that the system differs from the German one. There is a lecture and a tutorial for every course and the examination consists out of assignments, presentations and exams. This might sound a bit overwhelming to you, but with the help of the lecturers that know you by name and will support you with any questions you may have, it is definitely manageable.
But there is more to two semesters abroad, than just studying! For me, being part of Activate was one of the best experiences. USC Activate is an outdoor activity and adventure sports club for USC students that among other things organises camping trips in the beautiful national parks of Queensland as well as a Fraser Island trip at the end of each semester. And don’t forget that you can go to the beach daily and enjoy the warm weather even in the winter months!
I got to know amazing people from all around the world, made some lifelong friends and had the opportunity to visit some of Australia’s most beautiful places during my time abroad.
I absolutely loved studying at the USC and can just recommend it to everyone!
This is Labolina and Lars’ adventure, a story about two people from Dalarna, Sweden and how we met by chance at University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) in Queensland, Australia.
In 2014 we were two strangers, but we both had a spontaneous idea to study overseas, and since we wanted to begin as soon as possible we both enlisted the help of Kilroy Education. Their friendly and professional staff helped us get ready for the adventure, not knowing that our paths would cross only a few weeks later, and that this meeting would develop into a great friendship which in turn would foster academic and professional success.
Back in 2014 we left two different worlds behind. I was busy completing high school when my dad one night mentioned that he knew someone who had studied overseas on the Sunshine Coast, in Australia. All I thought I knew about Australia at the time was that Sydney was the capital (I was wrong), and that everyone spoke like the crocodile hunter, Steve Irwin (I was not completely wrong about that). So, the thought of moving to the other side of the world, to a country that I knew almost nothing about, seemed both thrillingly challenging and completely out of my comfort zone. As I have always been interested in learning how the human body works, I applied to study a Bachelor of Biomedical Science. Later in my degree I fell in love with Microbiology, learning about microorganisms, infectious diseases and what we can do to treat them. Throughout my degree, I had the opportunity to participate in theoretical lessons, practical laboratory experiments, and two special research projects, focusing on the things I wanted to learn more about. These factors definitely contributed to my learning experience, if there was something I would improve with the Microbiology program it would be the amount of laboratory time!
In contrast, Lars decided to leave his marketing career for a more person-centred profession, and since Lars was eager to explore other cultures, he knew his journey would begin overseas. Once Kilroy helped Lars find the Bachelor of Counselling program at USC, he was hooked. While Lars did not mind learning about theories, I could tell his favourite part of his degree was the many practical exercises such as demonstrating acquired counselling skills. Lars, himself, once told me that his favourite aspect of his degree was the balanced course structure, which is divided between theoretical discussions, practical exercises, and personal reflections.
Although, how do you gently tell your friends and family that you are moving overseas for at least three years? I remember Lars telling me he was out walking with his brother one day, when he out of nowhere said “Bro, you know the expression ‘I might have a screw loose?’, well I think my bolts are gone, the screws are nowhere to be found, and the whole structure is about to fall apart… I have decided to move to the Sunshine Coast for four years!”. I am not sure, but there might be some truth in Lars’ comment, as it was definitely a thrilling time, and it was at times difficult to comprehend what my university application would actually mean.
In the first half of July 2014 we both began our separate journeys to Australia, interestingly enough we both chose to travel the 24+ hour journey with Emirates Airline. I remember Labolina telling me once that when she got into her waiting cab at Brisbane Airport around midnight, she clearly thought her driver sounded like Hugh Jackman. She thought that her knowledge about Australia was astonishing. I have never met any Hugh Jackman sound-a-likes, but when I arrived I was well aware of the ‘dangerous threat’ from Drop Bears!
Before we knew it, we were Bachelor students, enrolled in our separate courses at USC, which is a university far, far away from home. To say that the following three years was an adventure would be an understatement, particularly for me. Not only because I was moving overseas, but also because I, as a person with sight impairment, was changing the familiarity of Sweden for an area, culture, and environment I could not see. I remember Labolina and I talking about how nerve wracking the first few weeks were, as we suddenly were sharing a lecture theatre with a few hundred other students. The thing that made us most nervous though, was not knowing if we could actually overcome the challenges that laid ahead.
I mean, moving across the world, doing a university degree in another language, is a pretty big challenge to take on, right? What we loved about USC though, was that it often felt like a tight-knit community. Throughout our degrees, whenever we had questions or wanted advice from teachers, they would be there to answer them. Whenever we wanted to learn more, our teachers would provide us with the opportunity to do so, and whenever we struggled to get our words across because of the language-barrier, our classmates would patiently listen and help. Some of my teachers well and truly acted as my mentors, and I loved being able to sit down over a coffee and discuss the world of microbiology with them.
I think it is rare to find a university with the same person-centred philosophy as USC. For example, USC always had an individualistic approach to Lars’ learning experience. This was evident in his first meeting with Disability Services, in which Matt (Disability Advisor) sat down and calmly asked “Lars, what help do you need from us?”. This was the start of a positive, solution-focused cooperation between the university and Lars, which made it possible for him to study on the same terms as everyone else.
While we both agree on that it was a challenge to learn how to speak and write academically in English, we were never too worried as we would have had to learn the same thing in Swedish. This is because the ‘academic language’ is ‘a bit special’, so simply knowing a language is no guarantee that you will have it easy academically. Surprisingly, it only took a couple of weeks before we could walk into a lecture theatre with the feeling: “Hey, this feels natural”.
In my experience, it was not just the university that had a person-centred and supportive attitude, but also organisations such as Guide Dogs Queensland. They have, among other things, helped me learn how to navigate the unfamiliar areas of the Sunshine Coast using busses and trains. This have contributed to my ability to live independently, and have allowed me to gather knowledge and experiences on my own terms. I was therefore able to travel around, meet new people, and try some of Australia’s excellent breakfasts! While most of the people I have met have been warm and friendly, Australia’s Mermaids had a stone-cold manor, no matter which ‘pick-up lines’ I tried (chuckles).
However, thankfully Labolina was a more warm-hearted person, with whom I regularly met up with for a traditional Swedish Fika. Fika is deeply embedded in Swedish culture, and can be described as taking a break from the daily stresses in life. This short break allows people to appreciate the good things in life, either alone, or with company, and is usually enjoyed with a tea/coffee and something small to eat. The fact that we Swedes have a special word for this should be an indication of how important this lifestyle is.
Labolina and I enjoyed our first Fika within the first few weeks of our stay in Australia. This quickly became a tradition, and usually we met up once a week to discuss the ups and downs during each semester. We agree that this break from the university life made the whole experience less scary, since we had a familiar routine that reminded us of home. We both took on our academics as the biggest challenge of them all, so even though we were studying completely different degrees we could cheer each other on as we worked our hardest to improve with each semester.
This could not only be seen in our steadily increasing grade point averages, but also in the successes we had outside of our studies. For instance, I remember a modest Labolina pondering whether or not to apply for an esteemed Undergraduate research summer program at Monash University in Melbourne. With the support of her friends, family, and teachers Labolina submitted her application, and just a few months later she arrived at the Monash Research Laboratory. One of my own great accomplishments was my invitation to ‘The Golden Key International Honour Society’, which is reserved for the top 15 percent of students. Fuelled by this success I also managed to secure a position in the USC Golden Key Executive Team, and was later that year awarded the prestigious Golden Key Undergraduate Achievement Scholarship.
While USC is a smaller university, we believe that it was USCs person-centred and friendly atmosphere that allowed us to grow and flourish. We think this inclusive and flexible environment is difficult to find at other universities, so if you are looking for a university where you are a person and not a number, we would recommend University of the Sunshine Coast.
These past three years have been an incredible journey for us both, and thinking back on the Mooloolaba coast line is starting to feel like a long-lost dream already. We have had our own paths and challenges, but our friendship have been there to help us forward. It is, however, time for Labolina’s journey to change, as she is now starting her Master’s degree in Infectious Biology at Uppsala University. Lars will stay at USC to finish the last year of his counselling degree, before it is time for him to change his focus towards his passion, namely the field of sex and disability. Even though half a world separates us now, we will definitely stay in contact, and whenever the opportunity presents itself, we will reunite over a traditional Swedish Fika!